This is a problem i stumbled upon multiple times while writing papers and presentations:

I am searching for a word or phrase which references information intended to be concluded during an activity. I once heard the phrase "take away" being used in the context, but am not sure whether this is actually a correct term or just badly applied language.

Some examples of usage would be:

  • Your "take away" of this lecture should be
  • The "take away" of the paper is that
  • This meeting's "take away" is

Please note that I would prefer a non-colloquial term and am trying to avoid "conclusion", which doesn't feel quite right in the context. Thank you!

  • 3
    Why not use take away in its usual sense? "What you should take away from this lecture should be..."
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 8:37
  • 1
    "take away" in this context means "If you can remember only one thing from the lecture, make sure it's this". It could mean the same as a conclusion, but not always. I'm not keen on it as it may be insulting to the listener, possibly implying that they're not paying attention and therefore will only be able to remember one thing about it afterwards. Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 8:48
  • 1
    'The key points are...' or 'If you only remember one thing,...' for some rather clichéd ones. Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 9:14
  • 1
    If you step away from corporate-speak, you will notice that "phrase which references information intended to be concluded during an activity" has a lot of words. The activity is your presentation or document. If the information is intended, aren't you doing the intending? You want your audience to draw conclusions, or aren't you laying those out for them already? Those are your key points (@marcellothearcane), not their take-aways. Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


Maybe "upshot" might work for you. Eg, "The upshot of the VP meeting is that the project got rejected." See https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upshot

  • That's not bad for a meeting but wouldn't work elsewhere. And why should it. The OP should think precisely what he means in each case and find an appropriate word instead of using one of the portmanteau abominations that are an excuse for not thinking.
    – David
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 18:12

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